A CLOSER LOOK: Lighter coloured shingles can save you money because they last longer
Asphalt shingles rated to last 25 years show signs of deterioration after 12 years. Homeowners are sometimes surprised to find out the manufacturer’s warranty only covers the cost of shingles and doesn’t include labour.
By ROB PARKER, SPECIAL TO QMI AGENCY
Roofs protect you and the interior of your home from outside weather conditions.
Most roofs last many years if properly installed and maintained; however, no matter how well maintained, at some
point your roof will need to be replaced.
Maintenance includes cleaning leaves and debris from the roof's valleys and gutters. Whatever the roofing material,
debris in the valleys can cause water to wick under the shingles and cause damage.
Clogged rain gutters can cause water to flow back under the shingles on the eaves and cause damage. Though
seasonal changes in the weather are considered one of the most destructive forces, the best way to preserve your
roof is to make sure the attic is properly insulated, vented and to stay off it.
When choosing a colour for shingles, it's worth mentioning that a lighter colour is best as heat from the sun breaks
down materials in darker colours faster.
Here is a list of some of the pros and cons of some of the more popular roofing materials:
Wood shakes offer a natural look with a lot of character. Wood offers some energy benefits. It helps to insulate the
attic, and it allows the house to breathe, circulating air through the small openings under the felt rows on which
wooden shingles are laid; however, a wood shake roof demands proper maintenance and repair, or it will not last
as long as other products. Mould, rot, and insects can also be a problem.
The life cycle cost of a shake roof may be high, and old shakes can't be recycled. Installing wood shakes is more
complicated than roofing with composite shingles, and the quality of the finished roof depends on the experience of
the contractor as well as the calibre of the shakes you use.
Metal roofing products consist mainly of steel or aluminum. Steel is invariably galvanized by the application of a
zinc or zinc/aluminum coating that greatly reduces the rate of corrosion.
Metal roofing is available as traditional seam and batten, tiles, shingles and shakes. Products also come in a
variety of styles and colours. Metal roofs with solid sheathing control noise from rain, hail and bad weather just as
well as any other roofing material.
Metal roofing can also help eliminate ice damming at the eves. And in wildfire-prone areas, metal roofing helps
protect buildings from fire should burning embers land on the roof. Metal roofing costs more than asphalt, but it
typically lasts two to three times longer than asphalt or wood shingles.
Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing materials. Asphalt products include shingles, roll-roofing,
built-up roofing and modified bitumen membranes.
Asphalt shingles are typically the most common and economical choice for residential roofing, but because of their
organic based materials they have tendency to break down faster.
The cost will vary depending on the quality of shingles used. For example, 25-year shingles will be much less
expensive than 40-year shingles; however, actual life of the roof will depend on whether the roof was installed
correctly by following the manufacturer's installation instructions printed on every package of shingles, and how
well the roof has been maintained.
There have been recent cases where homeowners have challenged shingle manufacturers on their warranties
because they have shingles that were supposed to last 25 years, deteriorating to the point where part or all of the
roof needs to be replaced as early as 10 years.
The manufacturer will try to determine whether the shingles were installed properly, that sufficient
ventilation/insulation was present and regular maintenance was performed, before honouring any warranty claim.
Homeowners are sometimes surprised to find out that the manufacturer's warranty often only covers the cost of the
shingles and not the labour that in most cases is greater than the cost of materials. Another common fact about
many roof warranties is that they decrease in value as the years go by; meaning, you will receive less toward
replacement for 25-year shingles that have deteriorated after 15 years than you would if the deterioration had
occurred after 10 years.
When choosing a roofing contractor get at least three quotes and determine what warranty they offer on their work.
Make sure the contractor you choose follows the manufacturer's installation guidelines and is also willing to install
the required roof and soffit ventilation as needed.
Also make sure to read and understand the manufacturer's warranty before deciding on what type of shingles to